Posted by Literary Titan
Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is the fifth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s “Forging of a Knight” series. The book series takes place in a magical, mythical world drawing heavily upon folklore and where numerous societies with feudal systems reside in the greater universe. The series follows the journeys of Qualtan, a knight who wields the powerful and coveted Goldenflame blade, Glaive, his half-orcne best friend and trusted partner, and many other rulers, knights, and creatures with whom they interact in the ongoing fight against the heinous agenda of the Evil Order. The “Knighthood’s End” installment guides readers on an arguably more personal battle involving Qualtan – the events that transpire as he finds his true love in Vanessa, a Mah-Zakim, and the journey of Qualtan and Vanessa in securing their freedom to love.
This book features many different types of characters and creatures, some common fixtures and other illustrations pulled from the depths of Negron’s vast imagination. The author does a fantastic job at creating the imagery needed for the reader to conjure in mind each of these magical characters and creatures. He displays the same talent for expressing imagery in his illustrations of the different worlds that Qualtan, Glaive, Vanessa, and other characters in the story traverse. The Great Forest, for instance, with its idyllic scenery and woodland creatures roaming about, contrasts greatly with the dark, terrible, and grotesque world of the Mah-Zakim.
The development of the story is done in such a way that, even if the reader was not already familiar with the series, they not left in the dark in regard to former battles or happenings from previous installments and how they play into the current plot. My only comment is that the author could have elicited more emotion and dimension in each character; I found that the characters at times fell too deeply into their respective tropes (ex. Qualtan as the hero, Glaive as the disgruntled but loyal sidekick, and Vanessa as the hopeless lover fighting against herself). The interactions between the characters, along with references to past struggles they have mutually faced, still adequately depict the strong ties that bind the characters to each other; a great example of this bond is the brother-like companionship between Qualtan and Glaive that remains steadfast even during the moments when they have their differences.
Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is overall a great read for anyone who has an interest in a well-written and carefully crafted story where knights, kingdoms, gods, magic, and other elements of folklore rule, with some seeking the greater good and some seeking no benefit outside themselves. The plot of the story is rich and enjoyable, and it should spark reader’s interest in delving into the rest of the series.
Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5
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Posted by Literary Titan
Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End finds Qualtan on the run and his friends turned against him. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
This was a natural progression for Qualtan – an event that was brewing and would have been triggered if not by the situation he found himself in, then by someone or something else. This can be seen in the stories leading up to this one:
He had started out as a starry-eyed knight-to-be, hopeful to become a knight as his father had been before him. In Book One of the series (Forging of a Knight) – he travelled to Turinthia, the heart of the Alliance, to become a knight.
In Book Two (Forging of a Knight, Rise of the Slavekeepers), Qualtan fulfilled his dream, joining the Order of the Bearded Lion, the knights of Turinthia.
Book Three (Forging of a Knight, Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt), Qualtan transcended his role, from knight to hero, alongside the Arch-Mages and the heroes of the School against the forces of Shaz, leader of Those That Stand in Shadow, within a prison planet forged by angels.
Throughout these adventures, Qualtan was made fully aware how King Prelance, ruler of Turinthia, felt about his companion and friend, the half-orcne former thief Glaive. As his orcne Kind had followed the villains of the series (Those That Stand in Shadow), they were usually viewed with hostility and mistrust, leading to the same concerns being raised against him, despite his good intentions. Even Qualtan’s own uncle, a powerful Arch-Mage who had gifted him many of his powers and his magic sword, felt the same. At first Qualtan merely felt at odds with these opinions, but hadn’t thought it necessary to act against them, until Book Four (Forging of a Knight, The Stolen Thief).
In Book Four – the cracks began to tell – when Glaive goes missing on a mission for the King, Qualtan’s request to search for him is refused. Realizing the King’s denial is based solely on his prejudice against the former thief’s half-orcne heritage, Qualtan decides to go anyway against his King’s wishes. In doing so, he encounters the technology-using elves known as the Dokahlfar and their dwarf minions the Vartahlfar, as well as befriending and allying with a rag-tag group of orcnes, the hated foes of the Alliance. Imprisoned for his impertinence, Qualtan at last decides that there is no reason for him to feel obligated in following such a King, no matter his other merits.
This brings us to this tale, Book Five (Forging of a Knight, Knighthood’s End). This time, the assumed evil acts of a spiritual being known as a Kubare’ that Qualtan frees from captivity (and eventually falls in love with), brings upon the King’s hatred again, who imprisons the Kubare’ to banish her back to her nether realm. The enduring ill-will towards his friend Glaive, and Qualtan’s punishment for rescuing him, laid the groundwork for the knight’s final stand against his King. Qualtan again chooses to follow his own scruples to free the Kubare’ and go on the run, leaving his knightly Order, his King, and many of his friends behind, while being branded a traitor, to pursue his forbidden love As we know, sometimes taking a stand for what you believe in can be challenging, difficult, and result in quite a few sacrifices, especially when it goes against the status quo. This is what Qualtan experiences here.
There were so many well developed characters in this book. Who was your favorite character to write for?
There were many! Glaive with his cynical, sarcastic, suspicious of authority personality is of course a favorite, and balances nicely with Qualtan’s initial naivete about his role as a knight, as well as the knight’s maturity, going through experiences that show him sometimes there is evil in good and good and evil with the result being a nice, muddy mess that doesnt fit nicely into “good” and “evil” compartments. Discovering that growth was fun.
Another would be Jesepha, the knight. Although her role is limited here, she began as a male knight amongst others in the background. I felt they all sounded too much alike, too generic, so I switched one of them from male to female. In doing so it created her storyline along with her mentor Bartholomew’s, a senior knight, and took some of the tales into a completely different path than what I had originally intended. She basically created herself, and I had to modify the stories accordingly – its an amazing treat to see that happen!
I enjoyed the shifting of loyalties and friendships throughout the book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Redemption is definitely an ongoing theme in the series – second chances. Bartholomew gets one in Book Two, Glaive you can say throughout, as he adjusts from being a street urchin, thief, to working for a smuggling gang lord, to working side by side with knights, Kings, and famous wizards!
Of course this applies to the Kurabe’ for this story, and perhaps even to the Queen of the Kurabe’ as shown by her decision at the end? Who knows?
This theme also revolves around simply not taking someone or something at face value, or assuming the worst without taking the time to dig a little deeper. Glaive’s unfair treatment by the King, same for the Kurabe’, are prime examples of this.
What is the next book in your series that readers should pickup after this book?
Book Six – Forging of a Knight, Darksiege Triumphant – the title says it all. A betrayal from the School leads Darksiege, last of Those That Stand in Shadow, with the means to achieve ultimate power at last. A mighty artifact, divided and cast into different realms, will spell doom if found. Qualtan, Glaive, Cassandra, and Bartholomew will travel to places dark and terrible, including present-day Earth, to prevent Darksiege from gaining the victory he craves, but all is not as it seems.
Are Darksiege and his opponents in a true quest, or have they been deceived into playing a much deeper game? Will Qualtan be forced into an unholy alliance with his mortal enemy to uncover the TRUE foe that menaces them all?
And after the overwhelming excitement of Book Six, there’s barely enough breath left to take on Book Seven, Against the Alliance – the finale to this current series of Forging of a Knight, which should be out later this year. Despite warnings from the Kings of the Alliance and the elves of Hermstingle, Qualtan moves forward with his own knightly Order, prompting war against his former allies. Only one thing can save them all: for Qualtan to reproduce the quest his uncle and father had undertaken to defeat Those That Stand in Shadow many years ago – to find the gemstone-eyed Master of the Great Beasts, the Dragon King, and bring him back in time to stop the war.
All the threads are tied, the sub-plots resolved. Whatever happened to Elizabetha, Arkonis, and Horga, the giant? What became of Romulax the evil druid? What of Darksiege’s servants, Bakal and Karash? How did Qualtan’s uncle and father uncover the Dragon King? What will happen to the School, the Alliance, and the Order Qualtan wishes to lead?
All the supporting cast are here – the knights, the Kings, the Arch-Mages, Prince Termenon, the Kubare’ Queen, Snowflake, faces from the past (some surprisingly forgotten about), Death himself, and very possibly…the Dragon King.
The war is coming…
Book Five in the Forging of a Knight series! For the sake of a forbidden love, Qualtan will find himself on the run with a Mah-Zakim to free her from her curse, or be consumed by it. No longer a knight, his friends now turned against him, how great will the price be that must be paid? Can a Mah-Zakim truly love back, or has the curse that has followed the First Knight for so long come true at last?